Religious Studies Minor

Jewish Studies Program (JWST)
0124 Taliaferro Hall
Phone: 301-405-4975

Program Director: Maxine Grossman, Ph.D.

Religious Studies is an interdisciplinary field that enables students to study the texts, culture, history, beliefs, and practices of the religions of the world, present and past. The minor in Religious Studies draws from a wide range of departments and programs (including Anthropology, Art History, Classics, English, History, Jewish Studies, and Philosophy) and offers the opportunity for both in-depth and wide-ranging study. A required core course (RELS271) introduces students to religions of the world and to the academic study of religion. In addition to this course, students are required to take three courses at the 3xx or 4xx-level and another two at the 1xx, 2xx, 3xx, or 4xx-level. Completion of coursework includes fulfillment of a breadth requirement, which demonstrates that students have been exposed to a variety of religious traditions, periods, and geographic regions. Selection of courses in consultation with the advisor will ensure that students complete this breadth requirement.

To make an appointment to explore or declare a minor, go to

Course Title Credits
RELS271What is Religion?3
Select three courses at the 3xx-level or above 19
Select two additional courses at the 1xx, 2xx, 3xx, or 4xx-level 26
Total Credits18

These courses can be in any of a variety of subjects, chosen in consultation with an advisor. See Breadth requirement below.


Chosen in consultation with an advisor. See Breadth requirement.

Many courses are now offered with the RELS prefix. Other regularly-offered courses that may be counted toward the minor are:

Course Title Credits
ARTH200Art and Society in Ancient and Medieval Europe and the Mediterranean3
ARTH201Art and Society in the West from the Renaissance to the Present3
ARTH290Art and Society in Asia3
CLAS170Ancient Myths and Modern Lives3
CLAS330Ancient Greek Religion: Gods, Myths, Temples3
CLAS470Approaches to Greek Mythology3
ENGL262Introduction to the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament3
ENGL302Medieval Literature in Translation3
ENGL310Medieval and Renaissance British Literature3
HIST111The Medieval World3
HIST120Islamic Civilization3
HIST284East Asian Civilization I3
HIST287Why the Jews? Historical and Cultural Investigations3
HIST306History of Religion in America3
HIST330Europe in the Making: The Early Medieval West (A.D. 300-1000)3
HIST331Europe in the High Middle Ages: 1000-15003
HIST332Renaissance Europe3
HIST333The European Reformations3
JWST141American Jewish Experience3
JWST171Is Judaism a Religion?3
JWST225Religions of the Ancient Near East3
JWST274Jerusalem in Antiquity: The History of Sacred Space in a Holy City3
JWST324Biblical History and Culture3
JWST331Early Christianity: Jesus to Constantine3
JWST430Dead Sea Scrolls3
JWST492Sex, Gender, and Jewish Identity3
PHIL236Philosophy of Religion3
Other courses may be taken with the permission of the minor advisor.

Breadth Requirement

The breadth requirement ensures that students are exposed to a diversity of religious phenomena. Most Religious Studies students will complete this requirement simply by selecting from the wide variety of courses available to them. Students with particular interests (in a single approach, like Art History, or a single setting, like contemporary North America) will need to take at least one course that falls outside their particular focus of interest. Students will need to demonstrate:

  1. Exposure to a diversity of religious traditions (understood to include African religions, Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism, among others), in coursework that extends beyond a single geographic area (such as the Americas, Asia, or the Mediterranean world).

  2. Exposure to diverse temporal periods (including antiquity, the medieval and early modern periods, and modernity).

  3. Experience of multiple approaches to religious phenomena or the study of religion (for example, art history, philosophy, historical approaches, and comparative methods).

  4. Depth: At least one course must incorporate the focused study of a single religious tradition or cluster of traditions.

Examples: A student with academic focus in religions of the ancient Mediterranean might complete the breadth requirement with a single course on Asian religions. A student concentrating on art historical approaches to religion might take one course in philosophy or literature. A student whose interests run to comparative and cross-cultural coursework might take a course in the focused study of a single tradition.

  • A minimum of 9 credits must be at the 3xx or 4xx-level.
  • All courses must be passed with a grade of "C-" or above.
  • An overall GPA of 2.0 in the minor is required for graduation.
  • A list of qualifying courses is available from the advisor to the RELS program.
  • At least six credits of 3xx or 4xx-level credit must be taken at the University of Maryland.
  • No more than six credits may be taken at an institution other than Maryland.
  • In keeping with University policy, no more than six credits may also be applied to a major.